Hello, friends! Our book today is Delivery Bear, written by Laura Gehl and illustrated by Paco Sordo, a story about learning to be yourself.
Zogby the bear has wanted to be a delivery animal since he was a cub. When he sees an ad for a cookie-delivery animal, he hurries to apply. But he faces discrimination from the get-go: the manager says that he simply doesn’t have the Fluffy Tail Cookie “look”. Zogby begs for a chance, and the manager hires him on a trial. His luck, however, seems to end there: at each delivery attempt, Zogby’s clients are terrified and scream at his arrival. Zogby sings the friendly company jingle, even attempts to make himself look more like a bunny, but to no avail. Dejected, he heads back to the headquarters, until the lyrics of the dutifully memorized jingle inspire him to win people over, simply by being himself.
I am conflicted on this one. The premise was promising, a clear reference to discrimination based on appearance and how unfair it is. JJ screamed with laughter during the delivery recipients’ exaggerated reactions to Zogby, and we were enjoying it. But when Zogby decides that he must take it on himself to earn the trust and acceptance of his prejudiced clients in order to keep his dream job… hmm. At the very least, Zogby was deserved an apology for the prejudice that literally drove him to tears, but he didn’t receive it – only acceptance once he assured people that he wasn’t a dangerous bear. Otherwise, the illustrations are very sweet, and Zogby is about as lovable a bear as I’ve ever seen. It’s a good way to start conversations about discrimination, but perhaps not the best way to end them. For the entertainment value and illustrations, this one is Baby Bookworm approved – just be sure to share with bookworms that snap misjudgments are never the fault of the person being judged.
(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)